NHS staff face tough new employment checks

Tough new employment checks for all NHS staff are to be introduced tomorrow (1 April).

The checks have been revamped following last summer’s failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow after it emerged key suspects had come to the UK to work in the NHS.

NHS Employers, which represents trusts on workforce issues, has published updated standards to support trusts. These include face-to-face ID checks and holding photo ID for all staff, as well as ‘right to work checks’ to meet new Home Office immigration rules which came into effect in February.

Sian Thomas, joint director at NHS Employers, said she was confident the new checks were robust and health service employers would follow them. “I’m sure HR departments will find [the new checks] challenging, especially with temporary staffing and students.

“But many employers helped us draft them and I hope trusts will be proactive and use and audit the standards,” she said.

“Managing security risks is a permanent feature of life in the NHS and we are at risk of a threat,” she added.

Compliance with the checks will be assessed as part of the Healthcare Commission’s annual health check in 2008-09 which monitor trust’s performance.

A set of six booklets contains information on what standards employers must meet to comply with both legislation and NHS policy. They cover six areas of pre-employment checking verification of identity, right to work, registration and qualification, employment history and references, criminal records checks and occupational health checks.

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